Leading Change in Health by Tackling Gender Inequity

Updated: May 8

Despite substantial efforts across industries, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions, limiting their influence and hindering diversity and gender equity goals. Case in point:


“Only 7% of the healthcare sector’s vice president positions and 4 percent of its senior vice president positions are held by women of colour.”



Many challenges persist with women in leadership positions; some factors accounting for a smaller proportion of leadership roles include career disruption and external duties, credibility assumptions about women in leadership roles, and perceived capability and confidence.


What does that mean for the future of women in healthcare?


“A worldwide shortage of about 18 million healthcare workers is projected by 2030.

The World Health Organization suggests this shortage, a consequence of anticipated demographic changes and economic growth, could be mitigated by gender equality initiatives.”


In response to these hurdles, studies have highlighted some strategies to implement, to improve professional development and encourage women to aim for leadership roles. These include establishing peer support networks, developing networks for women and connecting with leaders in the field, providing formal and informal mentoring opportunities, proactively addressing implicit bias, equality and diversity awareness and updating our thinking and language surrounding leadership.


These supports may reduce the drop-out rate of women in healthcare roles, especially seen throughout the pandemic. Ensuring that women have access to the resources they need is a step forward in eliminating biases, and barriers to advancing in their careers, as well as promoting professional development.


An Initiative funded by York University that offers solutions…


Our organization, Empowering Women in Health (EWIH) is an organization committed to building the next generation of women health leaders. Funded by the Faculty of Health’s Agents of Change Program, at York University, this team of students and graduates are building a movement to catalyze change in this generation.



Our upcoming EWIH Networking Summit is an event taking place this April 30th, where we aim to connect students and community members with female healthcare professionals and mentors, to facilitate engaging conversations in navigating around barriers and inequalities in the health field, and gain insight about how to grow as future leaders. Our event theme, Standing Together, highlights the importance of networking in an inclusive and diverse way, and shines light on differences as being a strength. For more information and to register visit our website or connect with us @empoweringwomeninhealth.








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